How Trump can crush DeSantis once and for all

Donald Trump can’t believe he needs help fending off Ron DeSantis’ maturing presidential ambitions, now entering their third trimester. I have thisTrump needs to be thoughtful after just three new videos posted portraying the Florida governor as “disloyal,” a “Mitt Romney lover,” and, targeting voters at the Iowa caucus, an enemy of ethanol.

Checking freshness Fox News pollWidening Trump’s lead over the unannounced hopefuls for 2024 (now 54 percent to 24 percent), he appears poised to roll out his tried-and-true campaign strategy of insults, rallies, anti-establishment rhetoric, political transgression and social media rampage.

Voters love listening to the oldies as much as music fans do, but 2024 isn’t 2016. Trump fatigue is real. He’s not the insurgent he used to be. He’s lost two midterms and a re-election bid to an aging specimen of the progressive faith. Besides, he has all these legal problems, including his charge. But it’s still the early innings of the campaign where there’s still a lot of ball to play. Given that this column offered advice to DeSantis earlier this week how to defeat trumpit seems only kosher to do the same favor to the former President.

The Advice to DeSantis column urged him to ignore Trump’s weaknesses — his porn star silence policy, his vulgarity and cruelty, his serial lies. Instead, DeSantis should target Trump’s strengths, like his border wall vows, his North Korea diplomacy, his so-called populism, and so on. Savaging Trump’s positive results alone might not turn the election, but playing offense rather than defense would give DeSantis the agency he needs to win.

Agency is exactly what Trump needs to deny DeSantis. By continuing to attack DeSantis by name, Trump is elevating him from wannabe to real contender. Barrageing criticism at DeSantis will only raise the governor’s profile and steer weary but curious Trump voters toward an alternative. Bad idea.

If ever a presidential candidate had to run for one Action rose garden in which the incumbent denies his opponent the attention he needs to win voter share, it is Trump. Trump is not the incumbent you say? That’s not how he sees the “rigged” 2020 election. By running for the restoration of the crown, Trump can engage in a virtual rose garden campaign with proclamations, press conferences and media events. He might even consider skipping the primary debates as he’s below his level, although it might be too tempting for him to forego a format in which he excels.

By making Joe Biden his opponent in 2024 instead of Ron DeSantis, Trump would rob DeSantis of the dignity of a competitor. Add to that the fact that attacking Biden every time he opens his mouth instead of DeSantis would be to Trump’s advantage since 2024 would be seen as a Trump-Biden rematch rather than a double-elimination tournament. It does exist small political difference between Trump and DeSantis that when Trump hits him, it’s almost like hitting himself. It leaves everyone, even experts, a little confused. But as Trump punches Biden, a slow-moving target if ever there was one, his supporters feel the full brunt of his anger. And they smile.

As the pseudo-acting president, Trump must never allow the DeSantis name to cross his lips. By starving his opponent of the same bill, Trump could turn DeSantis into a no-name nobody who doesn’t deserve attention. But that doesn’t mean Trump should ignore DeSantis. Just the opposite. This would require only a minor modification of Trump’s current strategy.

Rather than relying on lame nicknames like “Meatball Ron,” “Ron Desanctimonius,” and “Shutdown Ron,” Trump was able to denigrate and belittle his opponent with a steady stream of weird but stinging innuendos. “There’s this boy from Florida…” Trump might say. “Have you heard of that RINO from Florida who thinks he could be president?” “There’s that Jeb Bush Republican who wants to take Social Security away from you.”

By exploiting DeSantis’ status as relatively unknown nationally, Trump was able to portray him as an old-school Republican who was pro-Covid shutdown before he was against it, a humorless whiner, paint-by-numbers, flip-flops Politician not worthy of rising from governor to president and just another palooka like the lineup that defeated Trump in the 2016 primary.

Trump, who has the hilarious timing of a Vegas headliner, could make a joke out of DeSantis and paint him like a blank slate into any image he wanted. Nothing against supermarket executives, but DeSantis looks like it, and Trump should capitalize on his lookist talents by ridiculing DeSantis’s persona — his whiny voice, his twisted expression in front of the mic, and his boring rhetoric. Do we really need to remind Trump of his great skills as a political tyrant? As the original prophet who lived in the desert of locusts and wild honey, should he act like this!

DeSantis understands that voters crave fresh meat in their elections, hence his campaigns against DEI programs, critical race theory, LGBTQ issues, “woke” this and thatand be Support for book bans and school choice. Trump’s Policy Shop has been delayed with new issues to get angry about, making him a minor copycat candidate. It may not be too late for Trump to secure a piece of this action, but the fellow who dreamed up the wall and the Muslim ban certainly can do better. His idea for futuristic “freedom cities” built on state land and showcasing vertical take-off and landing vehicles is a good start. Who doesn’t want to live like the Jetsons? But he seems ready to represent a new idea, which invasion of Mexico to destroy the drug cartels might not be the ticket. For one thing, he’s not very good at damaging the wall he built by attacking our southern neighbor. Whatever he decides, he must stop rest on his demagogic laurels! A nation hungers for political entertainment!

Trump should remind voters of this that he was a president who kept America out of the war, helped calm the Middle East, took on China, got Europe to pay its NATO bills, helped defeat ISIS, moved the embassy to Jerusalem and the Iranians jaw dropping. Trump can outline DeSantis as a governor, a mere paver rather than a president to go to war with. What, Trump might ask aloud, has the chubby briefcase dead man from Tallahassee accomplished? Fought Disney for months and was beaten thanks to a loophole?

Treat DeSantis like a shadow. Invent some new themes for the campaign. Hammer Biden at every rally and TV appearance. And prepare for November 2024.


I also look like a supermarket manager. Note to the Federal Electoral Commission: This is not a donation in kind. Send new Trump policy ideas to Currently no new subscriptions are considered for email notifications. My Twitter feed longs for another Carly Fiorina campaign. My Mastodon Account is as sticky as Ron DeSantis. My postal account always votes for Harold Stassen. My RSS feed would never vote for a Harvard Law School graduate.

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